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Best Authentic Cantonese Food? Needing home cooking!

Coming in from 1,500 miles away for a couple of weeks and needing to eat... A LOT. Been deprived for too long.

Looking for good, fresh, consistent... dives are fine. Please share any specialties (e.g.: jook/congee, pulled noodles, roast pork w/crispy skin, roast duck, w/crispy skin, chicken feet, seafood, noodles, dim sum, dan tat/egg custard, good desserts)

All advice appreciated.

Willing to drive an north or south if there are exceptional don't miss suggestions, especially if the place offers other authentic Cantonese dishes.

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  1. San Francisco is fairly rich in most of those categories. I'd suggest you search this board for those things individually, then ask for help ion narrowing your choices if need be.

        1. Koi Palace has wonderful roasted suckling pig.

          Some more sources:

          1 Reply
          1. re: ckshen

            You can reserve a whole suckling pig at Koi Palace and they'll give it to someone else.


          2. If you really want to check most things off your list, I can organize a chow event at Saigon Seafood Harbor in Richmond when you're out here.

            18 Replies
            1. re: mchen

              Please tell me more, how would it work? And what would comprise the list?

              1. re: Spireup

                Pick a date and time and we'll see who wants to come. With a dozen people or so, you can get a pretty good idea of what the restaurant can offer in terms of Cantonese food. If you've really been deprived of the things you've listed, then this place will surprise you with what you've really been missing all these years.

                1. re: mchen

                  mchen, Thank you for your offer! We're obviously still working on our schedule and very few things are set in stone at the moment. I will check with my friend and we'll get back to you but we may not be able to pick a date until a few days from now. Would likely be towards the end of March.

                  Are there days of the week and times where it might be less crowded but still fresh food?

                  1. re: Spireup

                    End of March is plenty of time. Crowds and fresh food is never an issue. The seafood is always live and reservations are only needed for holidays. Remember, you're coming out to the land of Chinese restaurants being able to serve live seafood to hundreds of people at a time. I was at dim sum today and easily a thousand people went through the place. The planning a week or so out from the date you decide would more be for people to work out their schedules to come.

                  2. re: mchen

                    Hi mchen,

                    Time is going by fast... at this point it's looking like Sunday morning as early as possible. We'll be staying in Oakland so something in Oakland Chinatown would be fine too!

                    1. re: Spireup

                      So are you thinking dim sum Sunday morning? Have you been anywhere else for dim sum on your trip? If you want to go to the best place, it won't be in Oakland Chinatown. How many people do you have and do you want to get some people together from chowhound on short notice?

                      1. re: mchen

                        If you go, I would be interested in joining!

                        1. re: barleywino

                          Doesn't look like this is going to happen. But we can organize dim sum chow event in the near future.

                          1. re: mchen

                            Mchen, another long distance visitor/returner will be in SF from April 2-8 and very hungry. Any possibility of doing it then?

                            1. re: otis

                              I can possibly do a dim sum on Saturday 4/5.

                              1. re: mchen

                                Perfect for me. Could you pls email me? Address in my profile, thanks.

                        2. re: mchen

                          Sorry about the limited communication. My friend and I have been on the road with very limited internet access and very full days. We'll find a place in Oakland. Thank you for the thought!

                          1. re: Spireup

                            It's too bad you couldn't join us. Saigon Seafood Harbor is better than anything in Oakland Chinatown and the answer to your many requests. Here's the report,

                            1. re: Melanie Wong

                              Including really good homemade tofu. I don't think you had it but it is good there.

                  3. re: mchen

                    Good choice.

                    (Would "mchen" be my favorite physics teacher who has not been spotted here for ages?)

                    1. re: Melanie Wong

                      Always lurking, but haven't posted in ages.

                      1. re: mchen

                        Happy to see you here! Does SSH still have Cold Crab (Chiu Chow Style)?

                        1. re: Melanie Wong

                          Only the Richmond one has it on the menu. The Sunnyvale and Newark locations require advance order.

                  4. If you're staying in Oakland, you might be better off at nearby Hong kong East Ocean in Emeryville than the Oakland Chinatown places.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: barleywino

                      For dim sum HKEO is good. I was preferring East Ocean Seafood in Alameda for a while, but I think it went downhill a bit. Haven't tried Saigon Seafood Harbor yet.

                      My favorite Chinese places in the area are Great China in Berkeley (Korean-Chinese but does Cantonese seafood well), China Village in Albany (Sichuan), and Daimo (Cantonese), officially in Richmond though it feels more like El Cerrito. Daimo has most if not all of the dishes you mention.

                      In Oakland Chinatown, Spices!3 (Taiwanese version of Sichuan), Shandong, and Shanghai.

                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                        Thank you for this input. I've been in rural areas and alleys where wi-fi access was not easy for us. We went to East Ocean Seafood and arrived upon opening and successfully avoided the lines. It was a good third experience for my friend who had taken me to a couple of places of cook to order places outside of traditional dim sum brunch times.
                        We got the full traveling cart experience with a table location not too far from the kitchen door where carts were flying out. The staff was exceptionally attentive, contrary to dim sum stereotypes.
                        The lo mai gai was worth the entire meal for me. The dan tat/egg custard tart was perhaps the worst I've ever had, the crust tasted like old Crisco shortening with far too much pastry (ratio wise for the filling). What a shame. The center was good but too little to really enjoy.
                        The haw gao and sieu mai were larger than normal. They were acceptable but could have been more tender.
                        I enjoyed the texture of their jook/congee. Simple, not overly creamy, subtle in flavor.
                        Their tofu fa was not as creamy or luscious as it could have been and it needed more ginger for the syrup - which was more like water.
                        Scallops and mixed meat dumplings: seafood stench to strong for the scallops. Mixed meat was chewy and not tender. Little flavor.
                        The salt and pepper calamari is definitely something to order as many others have said.
                        I inquired about ong choy and they said it would be $14 for one order regardless of how it's cooked (was my interpretation). They didn't understand my English with spicy fermented bean curd. And I was certainly not willing to spend that much on one dish when I purchased the ingredients to make it myself.
                        Went to Gum Kuo the evening before. Service was attentive and the food was very good. By far the most tender meat you will ever experience in your life. Impressive. Seems to be a staple among locals and a popular place for a quality meal. We thoroughly enjoyed the congee. Duck and pork were phenomenally tender but needed more flavor. Will definitely try to return.